AZ Carriage Company seeks new digs
Ken Henry, owner of Cowboy Service Carriage Company, is given two weeks to remove his horses from Airport Road
Owners of the Cowboy Service Carriage Company in Williams find themselves faced with the problem of moving their horses for the second time in almost as many years.
Ken Henry, owner of the carriage company, also known as the Arizona Carriage Company online, once housed his horses near the Bob Dean Rodeo Grounds until city officials told him to find new accommodations. Henry moved his horses, three Belgians and one 15-year-old Pertron named Duncan; to a five-acre parcel located along Airport Road and within easy distance to the downtown area where his carriages run daily.
Henry was recently given two weeks to find new boarding for his horses. The move stems from a recent complaint filed with the city in regards to the horses. Up until that time, city officials said they were working to find a solution that would allow the horses on the property.
The Cowboy Service Carriage Company, working under an agreement with the Perkins family, kept the four horses near the back of the property. A number of cabins are also located on the property, which the Perkins family once hoped to offer as accommodations for visitors to the area. Henry said his company would tie in well with visitors who stayed in the cabins. The property was zoned CR in order for the cabins to operate as a business and the ranch home, located on site, to remain a residence. Current zoning on the land, however, does not allow for boarding of horses.
"It¹s a mutual agreement between us," said Henry. "Originally, it (the cabins) was going to be a themed hotel. Dale (Perkins) went for a variance and they turned that down. They told him they could do a conditional use permit for our horses here," Henry said. "Out of town is a long ways. To be within driving distance I have got to be within a mile, mile and a half, at the most and that¹s hard to do. We were here, I don't know, about three years. We've had the carriages here for quite some time and then we brought the horses in. We've been here for two winters. There's never been a word said, never had a problem. When this came up it floored me, because I thought the permits were in place. They should have been, but it wasn't my place to follow them up, it was Dale's and he was under the impression that it was being handled and then all of a sudden we get this."
According to Harry Holmes, planner with the city of Williams, the Perkins property is not zoned for the boarding of horses.
"The use of the property for a boarding stable is not allowed under the current zoning law and under the zone that he is in," said Holmes. "That
particular property is zoned CR, which is for commercial residential."
Horses are allowed only in the two lowest zoning densities, RR with a 5-acre minimum (under conditional use) and AR zoning, which allows horses as well, though neither allows boarding without a conditional use, 10-acre minimum, and not without council¹s approval, according to Holmes.
"We¹ve looked at this thing from all sides and we just can't find a use for it to continue," said Holmes. "There¹s not a zone which works for his cabins and the boarding aspects. There is not a zone currently in our books that allows both of those. Why it wasn't discussed or dealt with previous I don't know."
Holmes said that a number of properties in the area on Airport Road are surrounded by development properties that are currently in the works.
"They¹re surrounded on three sides by the Cataract Creek development," said Holmes. "The developers even spoke at a hearing and didn¹t seem too opposed to it as long as they didn¹t become a nuisance."
Property owner Dale Perkins said he had no problems with the horses on his property and hoped he might be able to secure a conditional use permit to board them again. Henry moved the horses to his home 12 miles north of Williams June 10.
"If it worked out that¹s fine with me," Perkins said. "It just makes it harder for him to have to transport the horses. As far as I know the carriages can stay there. Really the biggest person it¹s hurting is Ken. They¹re not hurting anyone there. If I get the opportunity to get a conditional use permit I¹d like to do that."
The recent filing, Henry stated, derived from complaints about the smell of manure in the area.
"I get a call that I need to contact city hall, because there¹s a problem," said Henry, adding that the issue was similar to the one he ran into while located next to the rodeo grounds.
"If you look at this area, unless somebody¹s standing right over there by the manure pile they're not going to smell it. I do know there¹s developers that have bought this property next door," said Henry. "This isn¹t the first time that I¹ve run into problems with the manure. Four, five years ago we got into it with the rodeo grounds. We were over at the far end by the old sewer plant back there, where the dog kennels are. We'd been there for a couple of years, a couple of seasons, and got complaints about the smell. Prevailing winds are here. The rodeo grounds are what they were smelling, but we got chased off because of it. I asked what they wanted done with it and they said just pile it up and we¹ll haul it off. They never did. I ended up having to rent a piece of equipment and come in and spread it. For about six months I hauled, which I¹m going to be doing again, out from about 12 miles out of town daily. I brought the horses in, harnessed them and went to work."
Cowboy Service Carriage Company currently uses four horses to pull carriages throughout Williams. He has another three on his property north of Williams, Mustangs, that he said are still in training stages. Henry hopes to use the Mustangs as part of his entourage in the future. Three carriages are currently in operation, including a sleigh. He is currently restoring a fourth. Henry runs two carriages in the summer months. In the winter he utilizes one.
"I want to put together a three-horse hitch of Mustangs," Henry said. "I think the tourists would get a kick out of that. It¹s what they call a unicorn, two in the back and one in the front."
Henry said he plans to haul his horses into Williams until a solution can be found. He is currently seeking new accommodations. "I¹ve got a couple of places in mind that I¹ll keep under my hat. We¹re going to haul for the time being. I¹ll leave my wagons in town. I can harness and go anywhere, that I have been told by my last meeting. We run diapers on our horses."
Cowboy Service Carriage Company can be reached at (928) 635-2152 and at (602) 679-3866 for more information. On the Internet visit them at www.azcarriagecompany.com or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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